Today’s post is written by one of my favorite writers and probably the funniest guy I know, my dad, Norm Jones.
Years ago my dad finally started using his gifts to help build the church. He writes about his story and asks you to do the same.
Check him out on twitter @normej32, you’ll be glad you did.
Use Your Gifts to Build the Church… NOW
When I was a boy in grade school – they had just removed the inkwells and the handheld slates for doin’ our figurin’ – my favorite subject was English – not the part about dangling participles, sentence structure, predicates and “I before E except after C” (which isn’t always true by the way) but the part where we got to write stories.
Hold on… full disclosure, my favorite subject was Recess, followed closely by Gym, which even my soon to be a 2nd grade granddaughter, Andrea, realizes is just another recess, “I mean, you just play games Papa!”
But as far as classes with books; English –at least the writing stories part- was it.
At the same time my two of my favorite TV shows – when it wasn’t my turn to stand on the roof holding the antenna in just the right spot that is – were comedies; Dick Van Dyke and Red Skelton.
Red Skelton was a sketch comedy show – why they wasted 10 minutes with those stupid June Taylor dancers when Red could’ve been telling jokes, I will never know – and the other, Dick Van Dyke, was about the writers of a sketch comedy show. (Trade Secret: I probably stole more jokes from those two shows than all others combined.)
I remember thinking how great it would be to a part of something like that. As much as I didn’t pay close (if any) attention during math class, this was simple math. People like to laugh. I like to be liked. So I need to make people laugh. And, I could do this by writing.
In High School there was an English class that was right up my alley (or cul-de-sac, as the case may be) a class where bad grammar could be excused as “for effect” and I learned not to dangle participles and mangle tenses.
It was called Creative Writing and I loved it. Again, full disclosure, I liked all courses that involved writing.
Of course, in Journalism class they frowned on the “creative” aspect – guess they hadn’t read The National Enquirer or Weekly World Globe. Writing and trying to make people laugh was the thing that turned me loose.
I thought I was good at it.
But that was then. My NOW never seemed to come. Or I missed it.
Missed it by not using the gift and the abilities God had given me. Maybe I was afraid. Afraid, thinking I was not as good at writing as I thought.
Or worse, I’m not nearly as good as those folks who write for a living. And maybe by listening to others and doubting I truly had a talent. You can waste a lot of time with that kind of shoddy thinking. I wasted 25 years. But as I say, that was then, but God has a NOW for all of us.
A few years back – Really? Has it been 14? I told you I didn’t pay attention in math – I was asked to be part of the new children’s ministry team at Fairwood Assembly.
I’m sure I was only asked because the 5th and 6th graders I’d been “teaching” enjoyed the lack of “learning” and the amount of “playing dead bug” they were getting from me. They asked the leader of the ministry, Denise Hance, if I could be their small group leader. At any rate, I hopped on. Soon after, Denise asked if I would mind teaching a few lessons now and again.
“Sure. Why not? Where’s the lesson book?”
“Oh, we don’t have one. We’re writing our own curriculum”
My NOW was here.
“Can we write the lessons as skits? Can we make them funny? What if we pretended I fell off the roof?” I asked.
“Skits are fine. Funny is necessary. Make it happen.” She insisted.
So, for the past –oh bother, you do the math – I’ve been, as a part of the greatest children’s ministry team ever assembled, making it happen.
Few things in life are as exciting to me as making the stories from the Bible come alive for the kids at NWLife. And not only make them come alive, but also mean something to them.
Even greater is to find new and imaginative ways to let the kids know, every time we’re together, how ‘coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs’ Jesus is about them. Every Sunday is NOW.
A couple of things,
First, if you’re a leader, you have to be on the lookout for people whose time is NOW. I’m forever grateful that Denise gave me the opportunity to create and write lessons. I’m also thankful that Pastor Angela continues to let me to do so.
They’re both gifted and talented enough to have taken care of the lessons on their own, but both realize that people need a chance to shine. They also understand that the Holy Spirit has given us all gifts and abilities to help build His church.
Secondly, when your NOW comes along, don’t hesitate.
Don’t give in to the fears. Don’t listen to the doubts.
If you’re good at building things, then build things. If you’re a chef, well, we love to eat around here. If you love to write –or maybe you just like being goofy – c’mon over to the Kid’s Life building! We’re waiting for you. I
f you’re good at math, well … I’m sure there’s a reason for it.
Whatever talent, whatever skill God has given you, use it.
If you haven’t been using it, use it NOW.
If you’re waiting for just the right time, that time is NOW.
NOW > Then
NOW > Someday